Wales will impose a full lockdown for two weeks starting Friday to reduce the massive number of new coronavirus cases.
Under the new rules, everyone will have to stay at home, and only so-called essential workers will be allowed to go to their workplace, Prime Minister Mark Drakeford said Monday.
Gatherings with people from other households are not allowed, except for single adults and single parents.
The number of cases of infection in Wales has risen sharply in recent weeks, despite restrictions being tightened in several locations. Wales has had a total of 1,711 deaths from the virus to date.
“An emergency shutdown is our best chance to regain control of the virus and avoid a much longer and more damaging national lockdown,” said Drakeford. “If we don’t act now, it will speed up,” he added, warning that intensive care units were already full.
The United Kingdom’s decentralized governments are responsible for establishing local rules to combat the virus. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now facing calls to impose similar measures on England.
Northern Ireland announced on Friday that it would close pubs and restaurants for a month and extend school holidays. Pubs and other restaurants in central Scotland closed for 16 days earlier this month.